Sunday, April 6, 2014

Introducing #PrecariousFaculty Network Links (weekly)

… initiates a regular series, this week's links collection opens with a 2009 article that benchmarks where we were then and still holds important observations. Despite significant advances and increased public awareness, not as much has changed as we'd like to think. There's a lot of déja vu all over again to be read in:
    • The great news is the presence, timing, and potential application of these reports.…The presence of adjuncts in the news, good or bad, is a good thing. It is a relief to finally see that our working conditions and low pay are being acknowledged and considered in larger and more public fora.…In the aftermath of these reports, adjunct-themed stories have been published in many college newspapers, in blogs, and in prominent publications such as USA Today .…The timing of these reports creates a window of opportunity
    • Both reports, like many efforts by concerned tenure-track faculty to help adjuncts, are well intentioned, but they were written from the perspective of professionals who are not adjuncts.…Since adjuncts are the issue, adjuncts must speak to and address the issue. We should not have other people speaking for or about us.…Adjuncts need to become more involved with their own destiny. Until adjuncts speak up for themselves, nobody else can or will take care of their interests.
    • Adjuncts must lead their own labor reform movement. We need our own national movement separate from the AAUP, AFT, and NEA. Once we organize and form our own structure, we can forge coalitions with them as our allies. While there have been instances where the unions have helped out adjuncts, an overwhelming sentiment among activist adjuncts is that, at best, we are not a major priority.
    • Adjuncts can lead. We are the single largest constituency educating Americans in higher education today. The AFT states that we account for teaching 49 percent of undergraduate public colleges courses. Add in graduate teaching assistants, and we teach between roughly 60 to 80 percent of those courses.…We educate the majority of college undergraduates in America.…Studies are nice; they provide us with the data to support what we already know:
    • All of these are nice, but being nice does not mean anything gets done.…Words minus action equates to zero usefulness.…The adjunct labor issue, which threatens tenure, corrupts the humanitarian educational ethos, emboldens corporatization of research and philosophy, and is just plain wrong. We need action, and it needs to start with adjuncts. Locally, we need to form networks of communication, support, and trust with adjuncts, staff, and full-time faculty. This lays the groundwork for larger actions, it establishes a pool of potential collaborators, and it works to eliminate fear and feeling disrespected while building a support structure. Nationally, we need our own organization.
    • I welcome further studies on adjuncts. Studies bring publicity, and each piece of publicity is another moment adjuncts and allies can work to educate the public about our working conditions and the public’s learning and teaching conditions. I welcome studies, because they provide me with an endless array of data which supports what adjuncts have known for decades: we are the largest and most silent labor force in higher education and our numbers our growing. Our potential power is mind-numbing; studies remind me of that power.
    • If ignorance of adjuncts remains private and is not discussed, little will change.…The best proposal in this direction was recently made by Joe Berry to the board of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Laborers (COCAL).…First, Berry identifies now as the time of great potential for change.…we are in a very strategic political place in the society, since we can speak to millions of students, their parents and the rest of society
    • There is a great desire out there for someone to stand up on behalf of regular working people and we can be a uniquely situated part of that.…These reports herald the potential for a new era in contingent academic labor’s history, an era where we help shape our labor conditions, our teaching conditions, our students’ learning conditions, and the research and publications which are written about us.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of PFR Network group favorite links are here.

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